When in Rome…Keep Learning

When in Rome….

…it is hard to come back to reality!

Our trip/wedding/vacation in Rome was simply outstanding.  In every respect.  Places, people, things…could not have been better.  But eventually you must return.  Return to a sense of “normalcy”, whatever that is…and that is different for everyone. 

For us, we came back to a family 4th of July, followed by a celebration of my Mother’s 80th birthday.  Both were really nice…special…as are most family functions.

But still,  it wasn’t Rome…the Colosseum…Venice…the Vatican…the beauty of a simple way of living in Poli…and all of that wonderful Italian food and drink.  (and subsequent calories which are not too wonderful)

Several things struck me at times on the trip.  The whole “Cradle of Civilization” thing was almost over whelming.  Gladiators and Slaves.  Christians and Catacombs.  Romulus and Remus.  Good and Bad (…and Ugly).  It reminded me of the importance of “Never stopping”.  That is that we can and should never stop learning.  There is so much to learn and re-learn.  Reminders all around us.  And when we were in Rome, those little, sometimes subtle and sometimes not too subtle reminders seemed to be everywhere we turned.  Shouting at us…hey look over here…hey remember that time when you heard about…or remember that movie you saw…

You have to be open.  Open to be reminded of how much you don’t know.  How much you forgot. 

I have told my sons that you shouldn’t stop until you get enough…and you can never get enough. 

I am talking about learning and growing…as an individual and a professional.  You never know it all.  Because just when you think you do, there is something new, different, enlightening that comes along.  Or something that rings a bell…sounds familiar, but you just can’t place it because perhaps you were dozing off in that class…I am not talking about self-help books or anything like that.  I am talking about simple things.  Ordinary things like electrical wiring, tiling (wink-wink), communicating, learning another language, playing the guitar or harmonica (wink again) or the history of a place visited.  The Cradle of Civilization.  It doesn’t matter.  It is said we only use a small percentage of our brain, or the ability to learn.  So, see how much more you can use…we can use.

Personally, professionally, even selfishly…it doesn’t matter.  Challenge yourself to continue learning.

One of the best decisions we made on the Rome trip was to take part in a guided tour of the Colliseum and Palatine Hill.  (Actually it may have been Rachel’s suggestion or Martina’s…either way…well done!)   We all know about the Colliseum…because we watch “The Gladiator”…or do we?  The tour guide was more like a history teacher…that one who made learning fun…exciting…caught you wanting more information that you may never use again but you liked it anyway!  And Palatine Hill?  I didn’t see that movie. (must have been an Indie release)  Well, it sounds important…old…maybe I was sick that day at school, but I am sure it will come back to me.  Palatine Hill was only the centermost Hill of the Seven Hills of Rome…home to the rich and famous of ancient Rome…Birthplace and home to Augustus, Cicero and Mark Anthony (the Emperor, not that washed up singer who “was” married to Jennifer Lopez).  The tour guide who escorted us around Palatine Hill was, well I am not sure how to say this, but he was…interesting.  Entertaining.  Engaging.  So much that I asked him for suggestions for books to read…for someone rather simple-minded in the realm of ancient history…suggestions for books that are more entertaining, with historical facts, than educating…ones that will make me want to turn the page because I can’t wait to read what is next, instead of wanting to turn the page because I am closer to finishing this damn thing.

And he gave me some.  And I ordered them.  And I am enjoying them and learning, if not re-learning, about ancient Rome.  Remembering some of those obscure details from Latin class and Frs. Kellet and Pieper.

I try to keep learning.  You never know where your inspiration will appear…what will trigger you to want to explore…learn more…or just read and enjoy.

I think it is important.  Reading.  Learning.  Staying ready and eager to continue pushing your mind.  Yourself.  Desire.  Fun.

The older I get, the more I realize how much I do not know.

Kinda scary.  Because 30 years ago, I thought I knew so much.

One thing I do know is…When in Rome, Do As The Romans Do.  Seems like the Romans drink a lot of wine.  So who am I to argue with them.  I drank a lot of wine.

But one particular hot, dry day we noticed some “Romans” (actually they may have been some young American students) drinking an orange-colored drink with ICE!  Yes, ICE.  (Now this is something rather foreign to our European brethern…freezing water and putting the result into a drink!!)  It looked refreshing…cool…like an oasis that could calm my withered body after trekking over cobblestones and moving around all of that “cradle of civilization” crap.

So we had one.  And it was even more refreshing than it appeared.  Tasted better…cooler…and it had ICE!!

It was an Aperol Spritz.  And it could quite possibly be the best Summer drink since the Margarita…and simple too.


  • 2 ounces of Aperol
  • 3 ounces of Prosecco (or a Spumante will also work)
  • A slice of Orange
  • Splash of Club Soda
  • Serve over ice and imagine dining al fresco at a small cafe anywhere in Italy

Yep, that’s it.  Simple.  Cool.  Refreshing.  And ICE!  Whoo-Hoo.  (sorry, got a little carried away there) 

See?  Learning can be fun.  I learned a new drink…and I like it…so will you.

Life is like that.  You never know where the next inspiration will come from.  Or whom will be the one to inspire you.

It doesn’t matter.  What does matter is that you are inspired…eventually. 

So challenge yourself.  Challenge each other.  Don’t stop learning and growing.  You shouldn’t stop…no need to stop.  The Romans didn’t.  Or maybe they did.  What about that Nero guy?  Ummm…maybe I need to re-read that chapter about fiddle playing and playing with fire….

Published in: on July 20, 2011 at 12:30 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Very cool and so jealous. I will get to Rome…someday. In the meantime I will try your orange drink on ICE. Happy rest of the summer.
    http://pattyabrdotcom.wordpress.com – the fearless cooking club


    • Thanks Patty, Cheers to the summer and staying cool. Hope you enjoy the drink.


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